International Cooperation

Project Topics

Jan. 11, 2024 Updated

JAXA and NRC sign framework agreement

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have signed a framework agreement for collaborative research in the field of aviation. Since 2012, JAXA and the NRC have been forging collaborative relationships through joint research in the aviation field. The launch of the NRC’s Japan office in October 2019 helped strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. Currently, JAXA and the NRC are conducting research on lightning str...

About International Cooperation

JAXA puts emphasis on international cooperation, and currently most of the projects have been conducted through international cooperation.

Collaborative organizations

United States and Canada

International cooperation between the United States and Japan started in 1969, when "The Japan-U.S. Joint Communique" on cooperation in space development was exchanged. Since then, JAXA has been participating in international projects, which have been mainly led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) such as the International Space Station, by dispatching Japanese astronauts on Space Shuttle missions, earth observations, and scientific satellite missions.
We regularly hold a Japan-Canada Space Panel with the Canadian Space Agency to exchange opinions on earth observations, microgravity technology, and other fields in view of a long-term mutual cooperation agreement made in 1989. We are also cooperating as a partner in the International Space Station project. In March 2012, the Memorandum for Promotion of Space Cooperation between Japan and Canada was signed between both governments, in order to promote and organize cooperative activities between the agencies over the use of outer space.

Europe and Russia

International cooperation between Europe and Japan started in 1972 with an exchange of information under official notes concluded with the European Space Agency (ESA) on cooperation in space exploration.
With the start of the 1980s, Japan's involvement with European partners increased. This partnership now includes mutual support between the space agencies of Japan and France (the Centre National D'Etudes Spatiales: CNES) in the launch of satellites. JAXA established a Mobile Tracking and Data Acquisition Station in Kiruna, Sweden, with the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC). A space experiment was also conducted in cooperation with the Russian Space Agency (FSA), using the Russian space station, Mir. These activities help to further international cooperation in earth observations between Japan and its European partners. Russia is the only country in Europe which has previous experience in space-station operations, and its know-how can make a significant contribution to the International Space Station project.
In this region, JAXA concluded an Inter-Agency agreement between ASI (Italy)CNES (France), DLR (Germany), ESA, FSA (Russia), NSC (Norway), NSO (Netherland), SNSB (Sweden).

Asia Pacific Region

In the field of satellites, the relationship between Japan and Asian countries started in 1988, when the data from the Marine Observation Satellite-1 (MOS-1) of the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, now JAXA) was directly received from space in Thailand. Since then, JAXA has increased its cooperative partners in the Asia-Pacific region such as Indonesia, India and Vietnam, while expanding the scope of cooperation, from remote sensing areas to the fields of communication, positioning, space science, utilization of the ISS and capacity building. In the field of space transportation, NASDA established a downrange station in 1976 with support from the Kiribati government on Christmas Island in the South Pacific Ocean, which is located near the launcher flight path. JAXA is using the station to monitor launcher flights. JAXA concluded framework agreements with 5 countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as many memorandums of understanding for individual cooperation.

Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum, APRSAF

In 1993, Japan led the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF). The APRSAF holds a regular meeting on international cooperation in the Asian Pacific region and 42 countries and regions and 27 international organizations participate. In 2006, the "Sentinel-Asia (Asian supervisors)" was inaugurated to construct an "Asian disaster preparation and risk management system" and this now comprises 79 organizations from 25 countries and 14 international organizations.
In 2008, the Space Application for Environment (SAFE) project was established as a collaborative effort to monitor environmental changes on Earth by using earth observation satellites of the member countries of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF). In these projects, further collaborative activities will be expected by using the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) and Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP).

International collaboration through international organizations such as the United Nations

JAXA actively participates and supports various activities as a member of global and regional organizations such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS.) COPUOS discusses issues concerning exploration and peaceful uses of outer space and submits recommendations and proposals to the UN general assembly. CEOS was established in 1984 to coordinate technical issues and exchange information on earth observation satellite systems. JAXA also sends its officials under agreements to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the International Space University (ISU) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Science Satellite

In the field of scientific satellites, it is significant to promote research under international cooperation. Cooperative work for space science is performed at various levels including the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) for space science, which was established thanks to the Halley’s Comet probe in the 1980s. Recently, in the field of scientific satellites, Japan shoulders a heavier responsibility as we have an increasing number of satellites that are loaded with onboard observation equipment developed by other countries.

Moon and Planetary Exploration

In the area of lunar and planetary exploration, JAXA actively participated in a study of the Global Exploration Strategy (GES) by 14 space organizations in the world. We have since compiled the "GES: Framework for Coordination" (a framework document.) Currently, JAXA is a member of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), a mechanism to realize our collaborative activities specified in the framework document, and to carry out more specific studies.


The Institute of Aeronautical Technology engages in various types of international corporative research in addition to cooperation with public aviation research institutes. This includes collaborations and joint research with overseas manufacturers and universities based on mutual benefits, and cooperation with international agencies. At the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR,) JAXA also plays a leadership role assuming the post of the vice chairperson to contribute to the development of international aviation research institutes.


Space Law

Several international conventions and principles, including the 1966 Outer Space Treaty, have been formally agreed on and decided for each country to utilize space.